Author

Randy Evans

Randy Evans

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a 43-year-old nonprofit education and advocacy organization that works for improved government transparency and citizen accountability. He can be reached at [email protected]

COMMENTARY

Norm Borlaug and Dolly Parton: Two peas in a pod

By: - August 2, 2021

It is hard to imagine Norman Borlaug ever joining in singing “Jolene” or “9 to 5.” I can’t picture him harmonizing in a heart-tugging rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” This is not a knock against this kid from Cresco, Iowa. He excelled in other ways — like saving upwards of one billion people from starvation […]

COMMENTARY

Iowa’s universities need to learn important lesson about free speech

By: - July 21, 2021

In recent years, Republicans and Democrats in the Iowa Legislature often agree on little. But they were nearly unanimous this spring in supporting an important piece of legislation — a bill requiring faculty and administrators at the state universities to go through training about the First Amendment and the rights it contains. Anyone skeptical of […]

COMMENTARY

Government cuts corners on public participation

By: - July 16, 2021

Several times a week, someone contacts me because they had difficulty learning about a government meeting or ran into obstacles trying to get government records. These calls and emails to the Iowa Freedom of Information Council come more frequently than just a few years ago. This is a troubling trend because there is growing citizen […]

COMMENTARY

Iowa leaders can’t stop electric-vehicle progress, even to protect ethanol

By: - July 6, 2021

Controversy, of sorts, arrived in my driveway last week. There was no commotion. There were no protesters. No picketers. No chants about destroying the economy or caving in to China. In fact, there was virtually no sound at all when the revolution in the American automobile industry rolled to a stop — and our niece […]

COMMENTARY

A church and its misplaced priorities

By: - July 3, 2021

Talk about lousy timing. The biggest religion story in Iowa last week was a jaw-dropper. Attorney General Tom Miller announced he has concluded a three-year investigation of sexual abuse allegations against priests in the four Roman Catholic dioceses in our state. Miller’s staff examined church records, some dating to the 1930s, that involved about 100 […]

COMMENTARY

Water quality ruling wasn’t one of the court’s finest moments

By: - June 23, 2021

Through the long arc of history, the Iowa Supreme Court has developed a reputation for judicial courage that often puts it ahead of many other courts when crafting groundbreaking decisions before important legal concepts become widely accepted. The issues have been meaty, and controversial, especially here in the middle of America. Iowa has been a […]

COMMENTARY

Gov. Reynolds should heed her own words about the need for transparency

By: - June 16, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds talked last week about the importance of government leaders keeping other government officials looped in as decisions are made and events unfold. The governor was more correct than she probably intended. I will get to that shortly. But first, here is some important background on the governor’s statement — because she and […]

COMMENTARY

The U.S. should not treat its friends this way  

By: - June 8, 2021

Too often these days, Americans and our government seem to be incapable of agreeing on what the best course of action is, regardless of the issue. This is especially true when we are talking about immigration and immigrants. Case in point: Zalmay Niazy of Iowa Falls. Before you jump to the conclusion that Niazy sneaked […]

COMMENTARY

Americans deserve answers about the Capitol attack, not more politics

By: - June 1, 2021

Plenty of stray thoughts have been swirling through my noggin lately. Thoughts like: What would Americans and members of Congress think today if the federal government decided against creating the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John Kennedy? What would we think today if the House and Senate two decades ago rejected an […]

COMMENTARY

Lawmakers dropped the ball in not fixing recount law

By: - May 29, 2021

The chambers of the Iowa Senate and the Iowa House of Representatives are silent after a busy 2021 session. Lawmakers teed up bills that addressed a wide assortment of problems, real or imagined. They decided against an increase in tax revenues for the three state universities. They took away authority of local governments to impose […]

COMMENTARY

The population problem Iowa should discuss: Livestock and its effect on water quality

By: - May 11, 2021

Through the years, the Iowa Legislature is the place where Iowans gather to debate the biggest issues and challenges facing our state. It has been this way for 175 years. The 2021 session is days from adjournment, but there has been precious little time spent discussing one of the thorniest problems confronting this state in […]

COMMENTARY

Why offer remote access to public meetings after the pandemic? It’s common sense.

By: - May 4, 2021

People like to talk about what the law says. And in Iowa, the law has a lot to say. Just look at the Iowa Code. It now fills eight volumes and costs $295 for a complete set. But common sense costs nothing — although the 18th century thinker Voltaire once observed, “Common sense is not […]